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How Confidence Can Be Worked From The Outside In

How Confidence Can Be Worked From The Outside In

We have all been scared to death for our job interviews, anxious to meet someone, or afraid to be in a new environment. You may say you have seen people who seem so confident when they walk in the room, but the truth is that even the most confident person on earth has struggles in these situations.

What sets this bunch apart from the crowd is that they know the key to being confident. So, how do we boost and build up our confidence? Fake it ’til you make it.

The key to confidence is to be able to act like you are confident even when you are not. How you present yourself is crucial.

The way you dress affects your psychological state.

How you dress is a basic rule that we follow when we go to different occasions. Others usually gravitate towards the person who “dresses the part”, and contribute positive attributes to that person. For example, a person who wears glasses[1] and dress up formally is perceived as smarter than one who dresses very casually in an interview. At the same time, what we wear affects how we see ourselves.

Researchers have coined the term “enclothed cognition”,[2] meaning that what you wear affects your physical and psychological state. The clothes you put on can either make or break your self-confidence level.

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The researchers conducted a test on the effects of wearing a lab coat.

A pretest found that a lab coat is generally associated with attentiveness and carefulness. We therefore predicted that wearing a lab coat would increase performance on attention-related tasks.

Because of the symbolic meaning and physical experience of wearing the lab clothe, physically wearing a lab coat increased selective attention compared to not wearing a lab coat. Wearing a lab coat, which is also called a doctor’s coat, increased sustained attention compared to wearing a lab coat described as a painter’s coat.

Your posture very much represents your mental status.

How do you sit? What posture are you in right now? When a model walks down the runway, if they walk with a straight spine, they will be more confident comparing to those who slouch. Your posture is very important to show that you have confidence.

A study shows that having good posture affects a person’s testosterone and cortisol.[3] Testosterone is the dominance hormone, and cortisol is the stress hormone. A person with a powerful posture has an increased testosterone level, and a decreased cortisol level, meaning high self-confidence and low stress.

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On the other hand, a person who slouches or has a bad posture is more likely to have a decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol.

Next time you are waiting for an interview, don’t hunch and crunch up your shoulders. Go to the bathroom and stretch out, the very small acts will probably make a great difference.

The way you act changes how others see you and also how you see yourself.

In relation to posture, a person’s body language also has a major impact on self-confidence. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has previously done a study on body language and confidence.[4] She concluded that people who take a wider, more spread out movement tend to be more confident.

Strong body language and taking up more space contribute to a more dominant and confident image. At the same time, because of displaying powerful poses, one’s stress level is reduced, which in turn boosts a person’s confidence.

Start with small changes for great confidence.

It’s simple, the principle of letting others believe that you are confident is to dress, look, and act the part to build self-confidence.

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Stand up straight but relaxed

  1. Stand with your feet as wide as your hips
  2. Pull up your head to make yourself as tall as possible
  3. Then relax your shoulders and your neck

Sit up straight but not rigid

When you sit up straight, you will feel quite tall when sitting at a table. Keep your back straight, but relax as much as possible.

Position your feet at about hip width apart

Putting your feet closer together generally signifies insecurity, and a wider stance indicates confidence.

Smile like you are happy to be there

Smile like you really like what you are seeing. A single smile is so powerful that it can often turn a low self-esteem and negative person positive.[5]

Don’t lean on or against objects

Leaning on or against an object signifies passivity and insecurity. Try to remain a good posture all the times.

Dress up with what makes you comfortable in different occasions

Consider your body shape and style, find something that makes you confident and comfortable. You can check out the essential tips to dress with confidence: 6 Essential Ways To Start Dressing With Confidence

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Make sure your body language is strong when you speak next time.

It will make you feel more confident and comfortable to speak your mind!

You might still wonder if you are naturally unsure or insecure, it might be a treacherous journey to boost your self-confidence. But don’t worry and just take your time. Don’t be afraid to invest more time and effort in fashion, don’t hesitate to pull your shoulders back, and don’t wait to take a powerful body position. Start small, finish big.

Featured photo credit: Ron Sachs—Picture Alliance/DPA/AP via timedotcom.files.wordpress.com

Reference

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Frank Yung

Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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